Washing your clothes while travelling isn’t something most people think about when you hit the road. It sounds almost crazy right? But the more you start thinking about it, the more it makes sense especially if you’re trying to figure out how the heck you can pack light. How does everyone do it? Instead of lugging your entire wardrobe out with you, the trick is to bring your essentials and when you run out, simply hand wash your dirty clothes.
Trust me, it’s not as complicated as you think. Just follow the instructions below and you’ll be able to travel lighter than ever.
Read more travel tips
- Guide to Travel Clothes Washing
- Ultimate Cold Weather Packing List
- Camping Packing List
- Why You Need To Own A Pair of Rainbow Flip Flops
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Step By Step Instructions
- You can either work from the washing bowl sink or bath tub. I prefer the sink because you don’t have to break your back doing it but if you want to do larger batches of clothes at once use the bath tu
- Fill your sink/tub with warm water but not too full because you will be splashing around so factor that in
- Put your article of clothing in the water
- Add detergent or if not available a soap bar or bath soap gel or hand soap
- Work in the soap to create some soap suds or if its a soap bar start pressing the bar against the fabric to leave actual soap onto it. Do this all around
- Either start kneading the clothes as if you are kneading dough to make bread, constantly turning the clothes over while scrunched together and pressing down at the same time. Another technique is to scrub fabric on fabric as if cleaning a hand towel or more crazy is to pretend you are a robotic washing machine and start spinning the clothes around and mashing fabric together. There is some satisfaction in seeing dirty water come out as a result of this haha
- Drain the water out and refill with warm water again
- Do the same actions as in step 6) to get all the soap out and hand-wring it out
- If clothes extremely dirty repeat steps 3-8 all over again and again if necessary
- To really dry out the clothes as much as possible, take the item (i.e. t-shirt), place it flat on a towel. Roll up the towel and then twist it up as if you are wringing the towel. Go all out here to squeeze out the water
- Place clothes on clothing line, rack or hanger
Things to pack to help with washing your clothes
- Clothing line though you can typically find something to hang your clothes on
- Cleaning detergent like mini packs of Tide which you can at any sort of all purpose drug store like Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada or something fancier like the German stuff Rei in der Tube
- Quick dry clothes work best for hand drying as they can easily dry over night. Everything else you’ll want to plan for a full 24 hours to dry
Exceptions To The Rule
- If you can afford time and can plan in laundromat time then there’s always that option but keep in mind that’s a good hour and some of hanging around a laundromat
- If you’re staying at a more low to mid class hotel, most places will have laundry machines so do it at night
- Hostels will typically have laundry machines
- Some countries and places will have clothes washing services like I found in Chiang Mai or in Palau
Watch the How-To Video
Enjoy not having to flip and turn your underwear around!
What you should read next
Travel Resources For Your Next Trip
If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.
Airport Parking: You’ll need a spot to leave your car at the airport so why not book a spot at a discount. Use code AWESOME7 to get at least $5 off at Airport Parking Reservations or Park Sleep Fly packages.
Hotels: Our go-to is Booking.com because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.
Vacation Rentals: Airbnb is the market leader but you’d be surprised how you can find cheaper deals on the lesser-known VRBO.
Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.
- Insured Nomads – Popular insurance provider for frequent travelers and comes with great coverage and special perks.
- RATESDOTCA – Search engine Canadians looking for the cheapest insurance including multi-trip annual policies.
- SafetyWing – A perfect fit for long-term nomads.
- Medjet – Global air medical transportation.
- InsureMyTrip – Best for seniors, families, and those with pre-existing conditions.
If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.